Heart of Illinois Group

From Prairies to Peaks

Conservation Biologist Anant Deshwal - 
April 17th Forest Park Nature Center 6:30 pm;  (also streaming via Zoom starting at 7 pm).

Grizzly and Cutworm Moth
Grizzly Bear and Fall Army Cutworm Moth.  Photos: Janet Stephens, Jasper NP, Canada;  John Capinera, University of Florida, bugwood.org


Professor Anant Deshwal of Bradley University is a scientist, educator, documentary filmmaker and environmental activist. His research is focused on the impact of climate change on urban and rural environments (including its impact on agriculture) and on the interaction of different species. His recent involvement is with the Fall Army Cutworm Moth, a species that is an agricultural pest in Central Illinois, but which migrates annually from the Midwest to high elevations in the Rocky Mountains where they are a vital food source for Grizzly Bears. This interdependence of species is something that fascinates Dr Deshwal and is the topic of a soon-to-be released documentary film. 

He will be addressing the April 17th meeting of the Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club at Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria Heights, starting with a meet and greet at 6:30 p.m. The program will be streamed live via Zoom starting at 7 pm.


Environmental Justice and Equity Issues for Proposed Peoria Distillery TIF

Southside Peoria leaders spoke out at a press conference February 22nd on concerns for the city of Peoria tax increment financing (TIF) district that includes the BioUrja ethanol plant. Concerns include the plant could use TIF funding for site work related to installing carbon capture/sequestration and a CO2 pipeline or site preparation for these.

Illinois Legislative Lobby Days Opportunities Ahead
On Tuesday, March 26th, volunteers from clean energy, environmental, faith-based, farm families, social justice, and other interest groups will head to Springfield to visit with their state representatives and senators, in support of new legislation on carbon capture and sequestration and CO2 pipelines.

Finding Common Cause: HOI Group Partners with Oak Brook Trout Unlimited
Trout Unlimited shares many of the same values that are ingrained within the Sierra Club. This article provides a brief summary of Trout Unlimited’s national organization along with highlights of the local Oak Brook chapter.

April Is Earth Month: What Will You Do?
Spring is coming and with that the annual Forest Park Nature Center Earth Day celebration which will be Saturday, April 20th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please stop by and say hi at the Heart of Illinois Group table that day and let us know what your interests are. A variety of other events will be happening throughout the month.

Macroinvertebrate Monitoring in Small Streams
One of the overlooked aspects of Mother Nature is the creatures that live in the small streams. Yet the presence and the relative population of these creatures is an indication of the health and quality of the water. The Illinois RiverWatch, a citizen scientist program, will offer a one-day training session in Peoria on Sunday, April 21st, on how to conduct scientifically valid surveys of aquatic creatures.

HOI Group Meetings and Events

Prairies to Peaks: Illinois Moths Critical for Survival of Yellowstone Grizzlies »

grizzly bears
Wed, Apr 17, 6:30pm
Forest Park Nature Center and VIRTUAL
Peoria Heights

Dr. Anant Deshwal, Assistant Professor of Biology at Bradley University, will talk about how moths from Illinois are critical for the survival of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park. The Fall Army Cutworm Moth is traditionally considered a pest by the farming community. However, recent studies have shown that these moths are critical for the survival of the grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountains. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a meet-and-greet, with the program starting at 7 p.m.  Registration required for the virtual meeting.

Turn to Nature for Hope and Peace:
Strength for the New Year Ahead

fall landscape

Whatever you are facing, take time to move yourself outside into nature and pause to watch around you. We are gifted each day with sky, trees, or even little furry beings that can give us a sense of wonder, peace, or joy. Savor those moments. Whatever you face, know that taking a pause and getting outside for a walk, hugging a tree, or a view of the horizon, might give you comfort. 

Thank You to Each and Every Heart of Illinois Group Sierra member! Your membership and support does mean one more person is being a part of the efforts. Please know you are appreciated! 

- Joyce Blumenshine